Tennessee and American Neutrality,  Part Eight

Tennessee and American Neutrality,  Part Eight

Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had moved strongly behind the neutrality program of President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.  McKellar was unquestionably the longest serving and most powerful member of Tennessee’s Congressional delegation and his support for Hull’s program was shared by most members of Congress representing the Volunteer […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part VII

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part VII

By Ray Hill With the outbreak of war in Europe following Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the United States of America was faced with an unpleasant reality.  Neutrality acts had been passed by the Congress in 1936, 1936 and 1937, but the war between Germany, Great Britain and France was eerily reminiscent of the First […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, VI

Tennessee and American Neutrality, VI

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, had declared himself solidly behind Secretary of State Cordell Hull’s plan to revise the neutrality act.  McKellar had also urged President Franklin Roosevelt to call Congress into special session to consider neutrality legislation following Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland.  McKellar had visited with reporters […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part V

Tennessee and American Neutrality, Part V

By Ray Hill Neither President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull intended to retreat from their demands that Congress renew the cash and carry provision of the neutrality law, while also removing the arms embargo on belligerent nations. The noninterventionists and isolationists in Congress, having won the fight in the House of Representative through […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, IV

Tennessee and American Neutrality, IV

By Ray Hill Secretary of State Cordell Hull had finally made clear the position of the Roosevelt administration on revision of America’s neutrality laws. Before writing letters outlining the position of the administration to key committee chairmen, Hull had consulted with influential members of both the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, III

Tennessee and American Neutrality, III

By Ray Hill Attempting to purge senators from his own party proved to be President Franklin Roosevelt’s folly. It was certainly true FDR remained the most popular Democrat in the country and he believed the voters would heed his call to eject those Democratic senators whom he targeted as obstructionists. Among those marked for defeat […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality, II

Tennessee and American Neutrality, II

By Ray Hill As President Franklin Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull prepared to approach Congress to revise the Neutrality Act, the opposition in Congress was formidable.  Of course the Roosevelt administration was aided by some equally imposing Congressional allies.  Key Pittman, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was not exactly one of […]

Tennessee and American Neutrality

Tennessee and American Neutrality

By 1939 Franklin Delano Roosevelt was fast approaching perhaps the biggest crisis of his presidency, aside from the Great Depression, with war looming in Europe.  Roosevelt turned to his Secretary of State, Cordell Hull of Tennessee.  Tall, stately, dignified and reserved, if not actually austere, Cordell Hull looked like a statesman, but Hull shared some […]

Senator McKellar: Politics and Death

Senator McKellar: Politics and Death

By Ray Hill When author Mark Twain was informed a newspaper had printed his obituary, he tartly replied, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”  Tennessee’s Senator Kenneth D. McKellar was seventy-seven years old in 1946 when he sought reelection for a sixth term.  McKellar had been ailing, although he seemed busier than ever, […]